Christ the Savior-Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Archpriest Steven C. Kostoff
4285 Ashland Ave, Cincinnati OH 45212 - (513) 351-0907
Scripture Study Archives: Notes for Summer Bible Study 2012 | Summer Bible Study 2015 | Summer Bible Study 2016 | Summer Bible Study 2017
2014 SUMMER BIBLE STUDY

May 18, 2014

 

Dear Parish Faithful,
 
 
CHRIST IS RISEN!
 
 
The Pastoral Epistles
 
Announcing this year's Spring-Summer Bible Study!  All of the necessary information can be found on the wonderful attached flier. As always, this promises to be a spiritually-stimulating and "exciting" event.  It is after all the living Word of God!  So, put off Netflix for an evening and nourish your souls with the teaching of the Apostle Paul and his words of encouragement and wisdom for us today living within a Christian community.
 
The Bible Study will begin on Wednesday, June 4, meeting after the Vespers service that will begin at 7:00 p.m.
 
I will also offer to repeat the Bible Study on Thursday mornings at 10:00 a.m. for those who cannot come on Wednesday evenings.  For  this group, I will require six persons to make a commitment. Please contact me if you are interested.

-- Fr Steven

2014 Summer Bible Study Flier (PDF)

Scroll down for an introduction to the Letters to Timothy and Titus...


St Titus
St Titus
St Titus
Apostle Paul
Apostle Paul
Apostle Paul
St Timothy
St Timothy
St Timothy

 

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES

of the Apostle Paul to Timothy and Titus

by Fr Thomas Hopko

The Orthodox Faith, Vol. III, Bible and Church History

 

Timothy

The letters of St. Paul to Timothy and Titus are called the pastoral epistles. Although some modern scholars consider these letters as documents of the early second century, primarily because of the developed picture of Church structure which they present, Orthodox Church Tradition defends the letters as authentic epistles of St. Paul from his house arrest in Rome in the early sixties of the first century.

 

"The Church of the Living God [is] the pillar and bulwark of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15)

The two letters to Timothy are of similar contents, having the same purpose to teach “how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)

In his first letter to Timothy, St. Paul urges his “true child in the faith” (1:2), who was in Ephesus, to “wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.” (1:18-19) He urges that prayers “be made for all men” by the Church (2:1) and that “good doctrine” be preserved and propagated, most particularly in times of difficulties and defections from the true faith. (4:6, 6:3) In the letter, the apostle counsels all in proper Christian belief and behavior, giving special advice, both professional and personal, to his co-worker Timothy whom he counsels not to neglect the gift which he received “when the elders laid their hands” upon him. (4:14)

The main body of the first letter to Timothy describes in detail the requirements for the pastoral offices of bishop, deacon and presbyter (priest or elder), and offers special instructions concerning the widows and slaves. The rules concerning the pastoral ministries have remained in the Orthodox Church, being formally incorporated into its canonical regulations.

Of special note in the first letter to Timothy is St. Paul’s confession of sinfulness which has become part of the pre-communion prayers of the Orthodox Church.

"The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am first." (1 Timothy 1:15)

In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul again urges his “beloved child” to “rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands.” (1:2,6) He stresses the absolute necessity for “sound doctrine” in the Church, calling for a firm struggle against “godless chatter” and the “disputing over words” (2:14,16) particularly in “times of stress” when the gospel is attacked by men of “corrupt mind and counterfeit faith” who are merely “holding the form of religion but denying the power of it.” (3:1-8) As in his first letter, the apostle specifically mentions the need for the firm adherence to the scriptures. (3:15)

The expression of St. Paul in this letter, that the leaders of the Church must be found “rightly handling the word of truth” (2:15), has become the formal liturgical prayer of the Orthodox Church for its bishops.

 


Titus

St. Paul’s letter to Titus in Crete is a shorter version of his two letters to Timothy. The author outlines the moral requirements of the bishop in the Church and urges the pastor always to “teach what befits sound doctrine.” (1:9, 2:1) It tells how both the leaders and the faithful members of the Church should behave.

 

"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men..." (Titus 2:11)

Sections of the letter to Titus about the appearance of “the grace of God ... for the salvation of all men ... by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit which He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (2:11-3:7) comprise the Church’s epistle reading for the feast of the Epiphany.

Generally speaking, each of the pastoral epistles is included in the Church’s continual epistle lectionary, coming in the Church year just before the beginning of Great Lent.



 

SUMMER BIBLE STUDY 2013

click to enlarge
click to enlarge
click to enlarge
Updated May 17, 2013

 

SPRING/SUMMER

BIBLE STUDY 2013

~  ~  ~

The

Kenotic and Cosmic

Christ

 

The Apostle Paul's Epistles

to the Philippians and the Colossians

~  ~  ~


'Extreme Humility'  (Bellini, 15th c.)
'Extreme Humility' (Bellini, 15th c.)
'Extreme Humility' (Bellini, 15th c.)

 

“He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…”    ~   from Philippians 2:5-11


____________________

 

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation… He is before all things, and in Him all things consist… for it pleased the Father that in Him all the fulness should dwell…”    ~   from Colossians 1:15-20

 


The Lord Almighty (the Cosmic Christ)
The Lord Almighty (the Cosmic Christ)
The Lord Almighty (the Cosmic Christ)

 

Wednesday evenings beginning May 29, at 7:30pm in the Church Education Center.

~  ~  ~


In studying these two Epistles, we will concentrate on both the “Kenotic Christ” of Philippians and the “Cosmic Christ” of Colossians, especially as found in the two great Christological hymns of  PHIL. 2:5-11 and COL. 1:15-20.


~ Please join us! ~

~  ~  ~

Download and print our full-color flier here.

 

SUMMER BIBLE STUDY 2012

May 30, 2012

SUMMER BIBLE STUDY
2012


The “Book of Signs”

Wednesday Evenings at 7:45pm,
preceded by Vespers at 7:00pm
beginning June 6


Following Pentecost, our Summer Bible Study will begin on Wednesday evening, June 6, at 7:30 p.m. in the Education Center in the church basement.  We will read, study and discuss the first eleven chapters of St. John’s Gospel, known as the “Book of Signs.”  We read and heard a few of these “signs” during the paschal Sundays that we just recently completed.*  Now we can go back and take a look at these signs in greater detail, for the homilies this year concentrated on the ACTS OF THE APOSTLES.  Each “sign” (and we will discuss that peculiar Johannine term in detail)  is a profound and multi-leveled presentation of the Gospel in miniature, revealing who Jesus is and what He has appeared to accomplish.  Join us for the Bible Study. Bring a friend.  As I like to say, the Bible Study is a parish event – as the study of the living Word of God how could it not be? – and not simply a “summer filler.”
 
 
-- Fr Steven


MORE ON THE BIBLE STUDY
What we'll be studying.

Extensive Notes and Additional Resources from our 2012 Bible Study

In the first half of St. John’s Gospel (following the magnificent prologue of 1:1-18) we read of the great “signs” worked by Jesus “The Word made flesh.”  These “signs” are the miracles which reveal the true nature of Christ and His ministry as well as pointing forward to the sacramental life of the Church following the Cross and Resurrection.  The Seven Signs are:

  • THE WEDDING AT CANA OF GALILEE (2:1-11)
  • HEALING OF THE ROYAL OFFICIAL’S SON AT CANA (4:46-54)
  • HEALING OF THE PARALYTIC AT THE POOL OF BETHESDA (5:1-15)
  • MULTIPLICATION OF THE LOAVES IN GALILEE (6:1-15)
  • WALKING UPON THE SEA OF GALILEE (6:16-21)
  • HEALING OF THE BLIND MAN IN JERUSALEM (9:1-41)
  • RAISING OF LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD IN BETHANY (11:1-44)


In addition, we hear the profound “Discourses” of Christ which further reveal the meaning of the signs and of His Messiahship.  These include:

  • DISCOURSE WITH NICODEMUS IN JERUSALEM (3:1-21)
  • DISCOURSE WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN (4:4-42)
  • DISCOURSE ON HIS WORK ON THE SABBATH (5:15-47)
  • DISCOURSE ON THE BREAD OF LIFE (6:25-71)
  • DISCOURSE AT THE MIDDLE OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES (7:14-36)
  • DISCOURSE ON THE GOOD SHEPHERD (10:1-18)



For additional reading on some of the scenes and themes we will be discussing, you are invited to explore our special pages from The Sundays of Pascha:


BEGINNING WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, AT 7:45 P.M.
(We will first serve Vespers at 7:00 p.m.)

Come and deepen your knowledge
of the Lord and of the Scriptures!




SUMMER BIBLE STUDY 2011

June 4, 2011

 
THE LETTER OF THE APOSTLE PAUL
TO THE ROMANS

Chapters 12-16

Wednesday evenings beginning June 29:
7:00pm - Vespers
7:45pm - Bible Study

From Fr Steven:

Dear Parish Faithful,

LIVE DANGEROUSLY!   COME TO THE BIBLE STUDY!
 
Due to the importance I ascribe to our annual Summer Bible Study – one reason being that the Bible comes from and belongs to the Orthodox Church - I always begin with a letter of exhortation to try and “recruit” new participants before we begin each year.  Whether or not that exhortation falls on deaf ears or not, is beside the point.  My pastoral conscience impels me to make the effort, and every year it seems as if we have some new members that join our circle.  So, if you belong to the species of homo sapien, and if you are simultaneously a member of our parish, then this letter is meant for you.   Continue reading...


In addition to the above, I would simply ask everyone to at least reflect for a moment:
 
+  How do I view and understand the Bible?

+  Have I cultivated a "relationship" with the Holy Scriptures?

+  Do I read the Bible with any regularity?

+  How am I able to guard against a mere "personal interpretation" of what I read?

+  Have I ever discussed the content of the Bible with others in a group setting and with a leader/facilitator?

+  If not the parish Bible Study, then what kind of regularly-scheduled event would I commit to during the summer months? 

+  Why do I venerate St. Paul as a great saint?

+  Have I ever read his Epistle to the Romans?

+  Do I understand the Epistle readings on any given Sunday morning at the Liturgy?

+  If not, what can I do to help myself understand the Epistles better?
 
It is my humble opinion that most of those questions can be answered in a very positive way within the context of our Spring/Summer Bible Study.
 
To summarize:  The Spring/Summer Bible Study will begin Wednesday evening, June 29 - the Lord willing.
 
~ Fr. Steven

+++

Some Background on the Letter to the Romans
(from the Orthodox Study Bible - New Testament)

Romans is Paul's most significant Letter.  It summarizes the entire gospel. St John Chrysostom calls Romans "a spiritual trumpet."
 
Romans is Paul's most logical letter. He argues his case like a lawyer. 

Romans is the only letter Paul wrote to a church he had not yet visited (1:11, 15:22). Paul was hoping to obtain Rome's support for his planned mission to Spain (15:24, 28, 29). Some have suggested Romans contains what Paul preached and taught when he visited churches in person.

Romans is Paul's most doctrinally oriented letter. While most of Paul's epistles correct doctrinal or moral problems, Romans proclaims the faith more completely and systematically, addressing few specific problems. St John Chrysostom says, "[Paul] abounded more than all the rest in the word of doctrine."

Join us on Wednesday evenings as we search the scriptures together and grow in faith and understanding!